Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video Games

February 1, 2012 -

An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would impose a tax on "violent video games" to help fight childhood obesity and bullying. Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller (D-Stilwell) introduced bill HB 2696, which would add a 1 percent tax on games rated Teen, Mature, and Adults Only by the ESRB. These funds would be used for fighting childhood obesity and bullying. 

This is basically what lawmakers like to call a "sin tax" put on products that are considered to be "bad for you" like cigarettes and alcohol. Half of the revenue would be put towards a "Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund" with the rest going to a "Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund." Both of these things would be created as part of the law.

If this law gives you a strange sense of déjà vu, it's because it is nearly identical to a New Mexico bill that was introduced in early 2008. That bill never made it out of the legislature and died on the vine. Let’s hope a similar fate awaits this bill.

You can read the full text of the bill here (Word Doc).

Source: The Escapist


Comments

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Why only games? Why not books and video? 

Where is Elvis' gyrating pelvis when we need it?!?!?! It's the devil!

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

This is why it violates the First Amendment

It violates the Fifth, since you're giving a third party the power to say "this is taxed, this isn't"

 

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

I don't see how this is a violation of the 5th amendment.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

Maybe you are thinking of the 14th amendment which requires equal protection under the law.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

It's here:

"nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

A third party is not due process. That was the ruling for required movie ratings.

 

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

That is an interesting interpretation of that clause. I will have to look into that.

I do agree with the conclusion though and it was a point that was used to fight several pieces of game legislation.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

It's an interesting interpretation because it flies in the face of established treatment. Look up the International Property Maintenance Code, which is used by thousands of municipalities in the US in lieu of drafting extensive property maintenance codes of their own. This is written by a private organization primarily consisting of landlords and developers, can be changed without the agreement of the local governments that use it, and in every state that it's been adopted, fines levied for violating it have passed the 5th amendment test. And if you want to get really fun: The locations that have adopted it aren't allowed provide the text of the code to the people governed by it, and it costs over $30 to get a PDF copy from the organization that writes it. And this has stood up to numerous legal challenges.

More to the point of that, taxes on specific goods have also been almost universally considered to be free from the 5th amendment anyway - they are avoidable by not buying the item and are considered voluntary. You can't be deprived of property under the 5th amendment, but you're more than welcome to offer it on your own, just as you're perfectly welcome to testify against yourself in court,  you just can't be forced to.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Tax on speech, as determined by a third party? That's going to cause a lot of ripples.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Given that nearly 80 people are dead in Egypt now due to sports, not video games, I propose a 1% tax on sporting gear, instead. The money will be used to buy people new X-Boxes or PS3s. :)

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Oorah to that! How about the fan "gang" wars in Europe that spawn during the soccer matches? The fights in the stands? The riots at Wimbledon?

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

What the hell do violent games, specifically, have to do with childhood obesity and bullying? And why would taxing them remove this supposed causal link?

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

It wouldn't. It would make the lawmakers look like they care and score brownie points with lazy parents.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Mo Money! Mo Money! Oink Oink! :(8)

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

First Amendment and Fifth Amendment violations. Bad legislature, no cookie!

 

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

After the Supreme Court case you think stuff like this would stop.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

At this point they're hurling cinderblocks at windows and are flabbergasted that the windows are shattering instead of the blocks sticking to them.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

I am not really surprised to see this. We had a representative file a bill that would require all game sales (not just violent ones) to be accompanied by flier "educating" the buyer on the dangers of violent games. That one came out the year following a federal court slapping Oklahoma aside the head for passing their own violent game regulation law.

Even with the Supreme court ruling in our favor, these bills won't stop any time soon.

I wrote about how these types of bills won't stop for a while using Oklahoma as an example: http://ezknight.net/?p=9

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Actually, depending on what the flier says (aka a proper education on the rating system as opposed to a "violent games are teh ebil!") I would support it. A lot of our arguments opposing the anti-violent game bills rely on proper education as a real alternative.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

The flier was to contain information stating something along the lines of "Violence in games has been linked to increased aggression in kids" It is basically the same false information that supporters of video game regulation have been spouting from the beginning.

That said, I would not support any kind of mandatory "educational" materials even if it were just information about the ESRB. That is compelled speech and is a violation of the 1st amendment. I am perfectly content with these things being voluntary and those voluntary measures have worked just fine so far.

Re: Oklahoma Lawmakers Introduces Bill to Tax Violent Video ...

Yeah, because the anti-choice and creationist idjits stopped with their crusades after SCotUS decision.

 

 
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